George Martin, Managing Editor of The East Carolinian.

While I’m sitting here, trying to write this, I want to make sure that I’m not coming off cheesy. I’ve had a great four years at ECU and have had a lot of opportunities that I will be forever grateful for, but there are also a lot of places where ECU and the Greenville community have let me down over the years. 

In high school, I always had a feeling that political journalism is what I wanted to do. Most mornings on the way to school I would listen to NPR, just enamored with their stories and commitment to the truth. This led me to join The East Carolinian (TEC)as a news reporter where I wanted to pursue this passion further.

While at TEC, I had the chance to report on Trump’s 2020 campaign trail, Jill Biden’s visit to Pitt County, the Black Lives Matter protests and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These have all been major moments for the Greenville community and I’m glad that I was able to be there and report on them and get this real-life experience with the world of journalism. These were great experiences and I felt like I was actually doing what I had set out to do when I came to college. It was honestly fulfilling.

But, I don’t want to pretend that the last four years have been perfect; ECU’s community has shown its ugly side on multiple occasions. The Board of Trustees looking to set up Student Government elections, Greenville City Council changing the wording on a “Black Lives Matter” mural and all of the culture surrounding the 2020 election has left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s easy to forget about all of these things with the speed that life moves at, but it builds up over time and creates a nasty environment.

As I prepare to leave Greenville and ECU, I can’t help but want the best for both. The pandemic shook the university and will have lasting impacts on its finances and campus culture and a predicted dip in enrollment due to the 2008 economic crash will even further this issue. 

ECU’s culture over the past four years and my involvement with it have only furthered my desire to be tapped into politics and what is going on in the world around me. Politics, for better or for worse, have an impact on every aspect of life, and being involved with it is a way that I can try and help people. The media can definitely have negative impacts on society, but I genuinely do believe in the news’ ability to give people knowledge about what is actually happening.

Like I said at the beginning of the story, I wanted to avoid being cheesy with this but it is hard when you’re trying to take a step back and really think about your college experience. But, honestly, when I think about my college experience, it will also be associated with the pandemic, civil unrest and the community that had to deal with these ugly parts of life.

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